Issue 204
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Today I Choose Birmingham turns four years old. And where most four-year-olds would celebrate by shoving LEGO up their noses, we've had a total, head-to-toe redesign. And being the narcissists we all know we are, we've asked some of Birmingham's best designers, artists, cocktail creators and architects to replicate our new logo in their inimitable styles. Hope you like it, because it'll be a full Presidential term before it changes again.  
Buildings united Associated Architects (top) and local legends Space Play (above), with the former focussing on the future of Brum, and the latter looking at the past. Yep, that's the Central Library playing peekaboo.
Taking care of our gold leaf entry, Seven 9 Signs gilded the new us onto a piece of sanded and oiled wood. Twenty-three and a half karats if you're asking. It's probably worth more than our entire company. eBay?  
You know you've made it when street artist Temper offers to (completely legally) add our rebrand to a wall (that he 100% owns). We now join the ranks of Roman Abramovich, Saatchi & Saatchi, Coca-Cola and the BBC, as clients of the graffiti commander-in-chief. We didn't pay him anything, mind you. He did it for the love. This is probably worth many thousands of pounds. See more of Temper's work here
Geometric shapes and iconic building references — yep, that would be Brumhaus. Trying not to be too fussy or complicated, non-essential details have been avoided and buildings fused together to create this handsome piece.
Artist Rachel Tighe's Insta is all about palettes. And her incarnation of the new logo is the kind of thing that could make a commuter crammed carriage beam — gloriously full of paint and colour, her favourite things.
In homage to the aforementioned Brummie gods, Space Play, the men that steered our redesign, Paul and Alex from Common Curiosity, convinced us to go with their re-imagining of the ICB logo by having the new 'B' made in concrete. A nod, of course to Birmingham's semi-horrendous, semi-beautiful historical connection with the material. It worked. We commissioned them on the spot and it parented this very feature idea. The brilliant Jack Spicer Adams took the photo. 
The redesign in quaffable form. Pretty looking, ain't it? Thanks to the always excellent James Bowker for this Clover Club-based creation. JB is captaining the drinks ship at the new Wilderness.
Our editor's got a weird thing about tote bags. The rest of the team do not, so here's a Provide-designed t-shirt for your ocular enjoyment. These aren't for sale. Yet...


Edgbaston is where England wins the most — 27 times if we're going to be all Duckworth–Lewis precise about it. And England have never lost to India on this hallowed turf. But with India ranked as the number one Test team on Earth, right now, this fixture has got one of them immovable-object-unstoppable-force feels to it. Running from August 1 to 5, tickets are from £29 for adults and £16 for under 16s. And if you somehow happen to already have plans that week, Brum's got one of the biggest programmes of cricket in England and Wales in 2018, also bagging England’s only International T20 (against Australia on June 27) and T20 Finals Day (on September 15). Nice, right?


This has been getting quite the kicking from some critics, but it’s hard to see why they’ve been getting their well-upholstered knickers in such a twist over this harmless and frequently charming bit of fluff. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are the only survivors of a plane crash in the mountains of northern Utah, and we follow them as they trek to safety followed by both the pilot’s dog (yes) and a mountain lion. The end result is a bit like a Nicholas Sparks re-imagining of The Revenant, and if it can get goofy – there’s a clunky reference to Candy Crush that not even seasoned pro Elba can sell – there’s some spectacular scenery, and the two leads make a winning pair. Times


We've all been there, right? Few too many Malibus and you end up naked, with your best pal, on a podium, spinning a hula. This year, your biggest Facebook photo fear becomes Fierce Festival's opening performance and the good news is there is almost no chance it'll be you on stage. More likely it'll be François Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal, two choreographers performing the UK premiere of Duchesses. Historically hailed as a symbol of sexual liberation, in this piece the hula hoop becomes a tool of instantaneous and endless dance. Witness it for free on October 18 at Quantum Exhibition, Digbeth. From there on Fierce just gets joyously weirder. Artistic duo Quarto will use a kilometre long rope to challenge the notion of what the body is capable of while the real mind-bending stuff can be found at Everything Fits In The Room. We'd try and explain it to you but, frankly, you won't believe us. Give this teaser trailer a try. Full schedule for Fierce can be found here. It runs October 16 to 22.  
Venue: Wok Chi, 135 High Street, Harborne, B17 9NP; website
Choice: Seafood rice (£9.45) Chooser: Us, we weren't feeling too chatty

If you live in Harbs (as no one should ever call it) you're already all over Wok Chi — an oriental, mid-week winner. After hearing about its wonderment from a trusted chum, we hit up the simple, attractive cafe-style gaff and received the sort of welcome from the family team that made us pray to all the Gods it was going to taste good. The wok fried rice with wasabi mustard, scallops, prawns and Japanese seaweed is exactly what you want when the emptiness of your fridge audibly taunts you, and the only way to silence its cruel ridicule is with something tasty and sating. The wasabi kick used in this way is classic of no Asian cuisine with which we're familiar. But adding to the already fresh feeling bowl, it worked entirely. Start with the steamed Vietnamese rolls (£4.95) and give serious consideration to the Singapore Vermicelli. Though technically a special it's been on the board every time this Wok Chi insider's eaten there. And she's eaten there A LOT.


Sear & Smoke is a Grillstock-esque event dedicated entirely to the wonder-filled world of meats and BBQ. From the acronym-loving DDC and OPM, there'll be 12 of the UK’s tipity topity searing, spit roasting, 'que champs. Including London's Wingmans. The chicken doyens recently took the people's choice award at the European Street Food Awards and their buffalo wings are exactly what you should hope, dream and possibly say multiple prayers for. On November 11 from 12pm til 8pm at Digbeth's Crane, tickets (£10) are already in final release territory. Act fast.


International ballet supremo Carlos Acosta's got a dance school, and he's bringing it from Havana to Birmingham's Hippodrome. Made up of Cuba's most awe-inducing dancers, the programme will include new and existing pieces by Cuban choreographers who have rarely been seen outside their country, as well as works from international choreographer types. Though technically retired (again) Acosta himself will also make an appearance. From October 18 to 21, tickets are from £12.


Scout is a big deal in the land of the cocktail — rated by World's 50 Best Bars despite being open less than a year kinda big deal. But the super sustainable outfit also happens to be 120 miles from Brum. Leaving their London home for the first time, find the team at Smultronstalle for one beautiful evening, when their cocktails and ferments will be yours for the supping in the form of a six-course tasting menu. On October 26 (sittings at 6pm and 9pm) it's £45. And if you're quick smart, bookable by emailing


Pick up your phone. Do it now. Set an alarm for 8.55am tomorrow, October 13, and hit set. Hit set on the loudest possible volume. Mike Skinner has announced that The Streets are going on a short reunion tour, starting in Birmingham's O2 Academy on April 19 and tickets will be available from here. The tour then takes in Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds, before ending with two shows in Brixton. “I’ve missed tour buses very much," says Skinner, wryly. "Which is the least of the reasons why I have decided to tour The Streets again. The other thing I’ve missed is trying to think up what I’m going to say in the gap between songs. When you DJ they tell you that you don’t need a tour bus and you don’t need to think up things to say between songs. But seriously, it’s been long enough... I have been living with music since making The Streets for nearly as long as I made The Streets." 
Austrian winemaking champs Meinklang Farm are at Carters on October 18 for twelve servings of paired food and vin. It's £150 for a place. Call 0121 449 8885 to book.
Ghetto Golf's opening next week. We have it on the very best authority that the course is all but finished, and you can book to play a round from Wednesday.
Idiots who just don't get it (the Office for National Statistics) say Wolverhampton is the unhappiest place in the UK. Step forward comedy festival Funny Things. Starts Oct 23.
Join Harden's for a wine-paired rendition of Glynn Purnell's greatest culinary hits on November 1. Champagne, canapes, and five-courses are £135. More.
The RSC's having a poetry slam tonight. Dead or Alive pits three modern poets against three classical poets, and then there's some rough and tumble (there isn't).

"She brings her hands up towards where my hands rested 
Wraps her fingers round mine with the softness she's blessed with" 

The Streets

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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan, Andrew Lowry
IMAGES:  Melanie Groley (Fierce)

'I Choose Birmingham', 18 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU
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